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The Flash reviews are finally in! This is what the critics are saying

The critical reception for DC's mega-blockbuster has arrived.

The Flash reviews are finally in! This is what the critics are saying
Andrew Williams
07 June 2023

The official reviews for The Flash are in, with DC's latest blockbuster put under the critical microscope.

A few weeks ago a stack of influencer types posted glowing reviews of DC’s The Flash movie online. Now the critics’ takes are in and, well, their reports are a bit more mixed.

The Flash currently sits at 72% on Rotten Tomatoes, an entirely respectable figure if not close to the 85%-and-up of the last two Avengers movies.

However, when you dig a little deeper you’ll find that the reviews are certainly divisive, with some loving the energy of the movie and others giving it the dreaded two stars.

Here's the not-so good news first:

“This is not a movie with any new ideas or dramatic rethinking, and – at the risk of re-opening the DC/Marvel sectarian wound – nothing to compare with the much-lauded animation experiment in the recent Spider-Man films. The intellect in this intellectual property is draining away,” says The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw.

The Verge also criticises The Flash for its “too-meta nostalgia” in a roundly negative write-up.

The Flash instead tries to jazz up a middling story with half-baked visual tricks and overly meta nostalgia plays that unfortunately feel like distractions meant to keep you from thinking about Ezra Miller while you’re watching Ezra Miller act against themself,” is Charles Pulliam-Moore’s take.

The Film Verdict’s, well, verdict pulls no punches too. “The first and last 10 minutes demonstrate the winning superhero saga this might have been, but the middle two hours are devoted to sloppy, shameless fan service,” writes Alonso Duralde.

You may want to approach The Flash with caution if you are not particularly invested in the DC universe, as it does appear to rely on the allure of nostalgia. Michael Keaton reprises his role of Batman after 30-plus years out, after all.

And now the good news...

However, some critics got on with the film a whole lot better. Empire’s Chris Hewitt gave The Flash a solid 4-star review, calling it “a witty and warm buddy comedy that deserves to be more than just a Flash in the pan.” See what you did there.

Deadline’s review is perhaps the closest to what you might have expected if you kept up-to-date with some of the early social media reactions. “DC’s The Flashmight not be the greatest comic book movie ever made, but it comes damn close,” says Deadline’s chief film critic Peter Hammond.

If you want more of a quick-fire overview as to what the critics think, you might want to check out the Reddit megathead on the topic. It contains more links and snippets than we can fit into a news story.

The Flash is out in cinemas on June 16. We’ll be watching the box office on this one with keen interest. Its production budget was reportedly a mammoth $330 million, miles higher than the $200 million of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and the $185 million of 2021’s The Suicide Squad.

This one has the potential to flop about as hard flops come. Still, reviews suggest if you’re weighing up Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and The Flash next week, this movie is still the clear pick.

ShortList's Verdict

ShortList was among the first in the world to see an early version of the movie, back in May. If you are looking for a nostalgia trip in line with what Marvel did with Spider-Man: No Way Home then you are in luck as there are tonnes of callbacks to DC movies of old.

The central character(s) are played well by Ezra Miller, although their offscreen antics do sully what you see on the screen. This is a shame as they are easily among the best bits of a movie which is overlong and suffers from some pretty bad CG at times (although this may have been due to the early version we saw).

However, we are fans of the film - it's stuffed with enough invention to make sure that while there are road bumps, The Flash rolls at such a speed that they never get in the way of the fun.